“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Our Puddles Have Puddles!

Another rainy day on the farm,
and the puddles have puddles,
and the dry lot is... not.

It rained so much yesterday morning that even the horses were unenthusiastic about 
venturing out from the cover of the barn.

Moonbeam spent much of the day perfecting the art of the nap.
Eyes, slightly open... but no one is home.
He is meditating... in his mind he is grazing in some green meadow somewhere...else.

Despite the clouds' constant weeping...
we seized the day and did some outside work.
Hubbs helped me dig up cannas... a task made easier by the soft, moist soil.

Where months ago I planted maybe ten...

there now were at least five times that many.

Next year we will have many cannas to plant...
and those will reproduce exponentially every year...
until I have so many cannas that I will be giving them away!

I also dug up the dahlias and gladiolas from the same garden.
All of the bulbs will rest in the greenhouse for a day or two
until they are dry enough to pack away in the dark, dry barn closet.
This closet contains the hot water heater so it maintains a pretty steady temperature through the 
cold winter months... a perfect place to store these bulbs 'til next spring.

Hubbs spent a little time gathering...

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When Kids Come Home

It's late Sunday afternoon on this,
my favorite day of the year.

And like we do every year on this day,
we got up at sun-up and tended to morning chores.
Upon our return home, we then turned the clocks back an hour....
and magically I gained a whole hour in my day.
(Oh, how I wish I could do this every day!)

As I sit and write, the last load of towels and sheets from the weekend
are finishing drying.
The running dryer and the leftovers-stocked refrigerator are the only 
telltale signs that 12 young adults spent the weekend here at the farm...
a short retreat from their busy lives of jobs, home construction, med school, fellowships,
working on PHD's, flying helicopters ... all of the things that fill their busy young lives.

Aside from cooking large quantities of food on Friday,
there was next to nothing for me to do.
It is a joy to have totally self-sufficient adult children.
Amazingly, the house was cleaner when they left than before they arrived!

They chatted... catching up on all the busy-ness of each other's lives.
They played and hiked and visited with the animals and ate and laughed...
sharing ghost stories, tales,  and memories from their college days.

The house is quiet once again and I am...

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The Direct Approach

Over the past two years
I have come to the opinion that sheep are not the smartest of farm animals.
Lately, however, I've had to re-think that opinion.

Working with Faith and Hope was easier when Grace was alive.
It seemed that Gracie was a wise old soul...
and her girls depended upon her leadership.
All we had to do was lure Gracie to wherever we wanted her with Ritz crackers,
and the girls would follow suit.

Now... it's a different story.

Maintenance chores like worming and hoof trimming are a bit harder...
the hardest part is catching the girls.

It seems they are smarter than I had thought.
They have an innate sense when something is even the slightest bit out of the ordinary.
Without their mother to make their decisions for them...
they are much more wary.

For the past week we have been trying to round up the girls in order to administer
We installed this extra long gate in their pen weeks ago so that they would be used to its presence.

We have nonchalantly worked in their pen cleaning up...
while one of us stays outside trying to lure the gals to their front gate for Ritz.
The idea was...
after they were occupied with Ritz at the front gate,
the other person would quickly close the...

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Rainy Day Reflections

You might think that with outside farm work to do...
that I might not like rainy days.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I learned long ago that the only way to endure the ever-changing weather is to embrace it.
And so, I have learned to love rainy days.

With gardens, meadows, streams, ponds and forests all dependent upon water
for life... rainy days are essential!

And so, we don our rain gear and dive into the day as if it were no different 
that the sunniest, blue-skied day.
The work gets done... and even extras.

And when it's all done, the wet clothes are removed...
and a cup of hot tea, or soup warms us up from the inside out.

steaming cup of lemon verbena tea from the garden.
I love the peace and quiet of a rainy day...
the sound of water trickling down the downspouts...
the sound of horses hooves as they suction into the mud of the dry lot.

Life slows down just a little.
Some are content to stay inside looking out.

And some revel in the extra moisture on the ground.

I sat and watched the runner ducks yesterday as they ran, 
slapping their little orange rubbery feet in the mud...
running their bills through the mud in search of who-knows-what.

These three have added so much to barn life.

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It's been a while since I have written a post that oozes forth from deep within my soul.
While it's true that I live in a world full of inspiration,
I often get swept away by the day-in-day-out workings of life on the farm.
My blog posts are often la-de-da musings of this or that...
barely scratching the surface of the wonder and amazement that I find in this world.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a neighbor...
an elderly (mid-nineties) woman who lived on the farm adjacent to ours.

And although I did not know this woman all that well...
except for an occasional neighborly chit-chat...
there were many things about her with which I can identify.

She was a fiercely independant soul who loved her gardens and spent 
countless hours keeping them weed-free for as long as she was able.

Her last few years were spent house-bound with caretakers and family...
the effect of multiple strokes.
And although there was never any hope for her to return to her beloved gardens,
she never gave up the notion that one day she would be there again... pulling up weeds
and transplanting tiny seedlings.

She knew the joy felt when one has the good earth in one's hands.
She had an appreciation for the simple gifts that...

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Happy Halloween

Halloween is always a fun time here on the farm.
It's the perfect time to throw a party...

and with animals like ours who like to party...
it's always guaranteed to be a success!

We spent Trick-or-Treat evening with our kids...
Tyler and his Mommy...

Mackenzie and Easton and their Mommy and Daddy...

Even Hubbs had a costume that wouldn't scare anyone!

Then we provided babysitting so that the little ones' parents could attend a party.

(Forest Gump and Jenny)

Every Halloween, Dr. Becky and her hubby throw a Halloween Party at their house...
and every year they take a lot care in making the perfect costumes.
This year they dressed up to be these two characters from Game of Thrones...
 Tormund Giantsbane and Brienne of Tarth.

Becky spent many hours making these costumes... 

down to the finest details.

Chester, as the boy wonder... Robin with Daisy (who wouldn't wear her costume).

(Batman was apparently busy that afternoon!)

Daisy had other things on her mind... like performing...

Happy Halloween from all of us on the farm!

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Bear With Me

There have been some strange occurrences in the neighborhood lately...
so we have been keeping an eye on things with our game cameras.
Saturday we headed over to the Hundred Acre Wood to gather
camera cards from the game cameras.

It was a beautiful autumn day... the last before a predicted "nor-easter" was to hit us.
As you can see, the neighborhood is decorated for Halloween.

A trip to the woods is always a favored activity with the dogs.

On the way we saw a few curious things....

new claw marks on an old log.

Curious paw prints

 on the picnic table at the tent in the woods...

And right next to that, the tarp that keeps the campsite firewood dry,
appeared to have been shredded.

Luckily, this was one of the areas that had a game camera...
on the post beside the picnic table.

We gathered the camera cards and headed home to see if we had any
answers to the mysteries.
Here is what we found.

One bear cub.

Two bear cubs.

Three bear cubs.

And a rather large Mama!!
It looks like ole Mama was sitting at the picnic table watching her youngsters play.

On another evening...

Meanwhile elsewhere around the farm...

And this mystery animal...
I have no idea what it is.
Any ideas?

When we went back to the woods, later...

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Weekend Fun

Aside from a trip to Philadelphia on Saturday for dinner 
with Amanda and Tim...
and the requisite visit to the Italian market to stock up on some artisanal cheeses,
Italian olive oil, olives and pasta... 
(and a few outrageous pastries may have followed us home as well!)
the rest of the weekend was quiet.

 It gave us the opportunity to enjoy the peace of an autumn day before
winter moves in for good!

We started our annual boundary walk to make sure we have enough 
"No Trespassing" signs visible
before hunting season begins.

We have a sizable deer population who use our woods as a safe haven from 
the guns and arrows of hunters...
and we like to keep it that way.

I prefer to hunt deer with a camera!

Any excuse for a hike in the woods is fine with the dogs.

This time we left Oakley at home.
Long hikes are hard on him.
He enjoys running in the woods, but pays the price the next day...
limping with arthritis.
He gets just enough exercise accompanying us when we do the chores
throughout the day.

Sam has completely recovered from his cruciate ligament tear and
can keep up on hikes with no difficulty, and no reverting to a three legged run.
He is a much happier dog now that he has no limitations.

On our way...

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Frosty Freedom Day

It's not yet Thanksgiving, and it's already starting to feel like winter here on the farm.
It's been hovering around the freezing mark...
with frosty mornings.

The last of Summer's greens have been tipped in a sugary sweet coating of ice crystals...

Every morning has something special to offer...
sometimes a spectacular sunrise, sometimes frosty artwork...
today, a world seen through a foggy filter of grey...

a gift awaiting anyone who ventures outside in the early hours.

Yesterday was freedom day for the young guinea fowl.
They looked at their front door standing open...
the whole wide world awaiting them.

They looked and they hesitated.

And then one was bold enough to venture forth...
the rest following in tow.
These 20 birds are of one mind.

Where one goes... there goes the rest!

They spent the day close to the barn... venturing into the front pasture and the 
not-so-dry lot.

Late in the afternoon, I herded them back into their yard once again...
safely tucked back in their home for the night.

Day 1 of freedom... began with 20 guineas and ended with 20 guineas....
a success!!
It will not always be so...
but at least we are off to a great start!

Heat lamps are once again a part of everyone's...

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Barnyard Chatter

Family matters called Bev away from the farm yesterday,
and Hubbs held down the fort.

We sheep are filling in for Mom today...
and bringing you this blog post from the barnyard...

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Dynamic Morning

This is the time of year when I love getting out to the barn before sun-up.

It seems that almost every morning there is a spectacular show.

Some days it is brief, and others it lasts for quite some time...

colors changing... 

brightness intensifying... 

until moments later, 

cotton candy clouds fade into grayness.

Early morning was the best part of yesterday.

Walking the horses to the upper pastures turned into a joyous
free-for-all of pounding hooves, tails raised high in the air...

bucking, rearing, prancing, dancing...
a midst whinnies and snorts...
 (and farts... anyone who has ever had horses knows that farts are an integral part of
morning romps!)

It's funny how the horses know that their neighbors are present...
long before they are even close to them.

And, as they reach the pasture across from each other
a glorious display of "showing off" ensues.

Once all have pulled out every trick in their bag,
they all settle down to the task of grazing....

or rolling (for those who already had the luxury of a full night's grazing.)

Autumn mornings...
full of possibilities,
and joy...
not to be missed.

Later in the day...

Our first snow.... a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain.
And to think it was...

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Now That's An Egg!!

As you know, the Muscovy gals have been making their daily trek to the barn.
Each morning I find them on the fence by the driveway...

our special Halloween Duckorations
and from there they make their way up through the pasture to the barn.
They snack on the Runner Ducks' food, visit with whomever is cleaning the dry lot,
hang out by the barn, and then fly back to the pond.

This morning we realized they are also doing something else...


in the donkey house!

Check out the size of this egg...

The top egg is a large chicken egg.
The middle is a Runner Duck egg.
The bottom belongs to Ms. Muscovy.
Now that's an egg!

The weather has turned colder...and tonight is to be in the 30's.
I took a few last photos of summer blossoms... soon to be gone.

Dear Friends,
It gives me great joy to share with you, here, the things that make me smile each day.
I try to make this blog easy for you to access...
and so, in the past have written each post in the evening and scheduled it for
publishing in the wee hours of the morning.
Lately we have had some difficulties with publishing on Facebook.
You may have missed us, but we are still here... every Monday through Friday.

If you enjoy visiting the farm, please...

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Halloween Duckorations

Do you like our duckorations?

This post is a test.
I am having some publishing issues... related to FB.
I am trying to fix this issue.
Quite possibly, some changes will be coming to this website.

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Autumn With The Littles

It is Sunday night, and I've sat down with photos from the weekend.
I've never known a weekend to speed by so quickly.
We spent the weekend celebrating Autumn with our Littles...
both the four legged and the two legged!

Much of Saturday was spent at a local farm...
Butchers' Family Fun Farm.

This attraction is always the highlight of our autumn...
a day of family fun at the pumpkin patch...

playing in the corn and the hay, 

feeding the animals, getting lost in a corn maze,

and enjoying all sorts of fun activities for all sizes of "littles"!

Even Easton had a great time... although he slept through most of it!

Sunday was spent on our own farm with Tyler and his puppy Chester.

We hiked in the woods, painted Halloween pumpkins, and just enjoyed the simple
pleasures of farm life.

Equipping him with a WiFi-free and App-free, old iPad,
I taught Ty how to take photos and he set off to document his life
in photos and videos.

He had a blast photographing his farm friends and interviewing us
as if we were on TV.
I hope this starts him down the path of life-long enjoyment of photography.

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Donkey Days

Whenever I have a little extra time on my hands,
I spend it with either the pigs or the donkeys.

They both love the extra attention.
I swear they are love sponges... just soaking it all in!

Donkey lovin' could be a cure for high blood pressure.

Sit with them for a while and you find yourself completely relaxed.

They spend the time as close to you as they can get... sometimes almost on top of you...
which makes photography a little difficult.
We've learned to love them up close...

but worship them from afar!

It's hard to believe... but another week has passed.
Magically, it was a week without publishing woes for the blog.
I am keeping my fingers crossed!

We've enjoyed a week of beautiful autumn weather.
It's definitely seasonable now.
Daytime highs in the upper 50's ...
nighttime lows in the 30's.

Enjoy this last weekend of the month.
We'll be back Monday with tales from the weekend...
and maybe a few costume shenanigans!

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Helmets and Wattles

Only two adult guineas remain from our last flock.
These two are several years old now.

I am guessing that they are both males.

Males have very large helmets and wattles (on the sides of their face).

Males also do not make the "buck-wheat" call that females make.
Neither of the old guineas make that sound.

They are quite eager for the young guineas to gain their freedom.

This will happen in another month or so.
At that point they will be free to roam around the farm eating ticks and insects as
they please.

The youngsters are just beginning to grow their helmets.
You can just see their heads beginning to show a slight hump on top.
Notice the large wattles on the youngster on the right... he's likely a male as well.

Guineas lay eggs with shells as hard as ceramic.
Unfortunately they lay them in the strangest places...
making them hard to find.
The eggs are edible just like chicken eggs... if you can find them.
The trouble is... by the time you find a clutch of eggs hidden in some obscure location...
they are of unknown age... making them inedible.

I spent a little time harvesting the remains of the garden yesterday,
as nighttime temperatures will be dipping back down in the 30's.

Fall broccoli is...

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Sammie, The Cowardly Lion

The end of October is nearing...
and that means Halloween is just around the corner.
And if you have been a farm friend for long enough,
then you already know how we love to dress up for Halloween!
We have a whole host of tricksters here on the farm.

Sammie, of course, is our biggest trickster of all.
He's been working on his costume and just couldn't wait to share it with you!

He's a lazy old lion
who wouldn't hurt a flea!

he reminds me a little of the Cowardly Lion from Oz!

While we were busy with Sammie's photo shoot,
Miss Annie was preoccupied with something in the sky.

"What is it, Annie?  Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?"
Why, no... it's Hubbs flying his drone.

Since retiring, he has finally had the time to do software upgrades
and learn to fly his drone.

I included a little footage of our farm from the drone's camera.
I will try to narrate so that you know what you are looking at.

Please ignore the obvious pile of trash that is lying next to the barn.
We are in the process of doing what the Swedes call "death cleaning."
Seriously... it's a thing.
So that our children don't have to deal with every little thing that we saved over the years,
knowing that some day we might need it,
we are...

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Chickens Never Forget!

I sometimes think that the only ones who benefit from behavior modification
are we humans!

You might remember that we did a bit of re-arranging two weeks ago.
We moved the turkeys from the barn into an almost empty henhouse
and moved those few hens into our main chicken yard that has two henhouses.

In order to reinforce that this new area is their new home,
we kept the chickens in their yard for ten days.

Certainly 10 days would be long enough for them to understand that
they now live in a new home.

Of course not.

Yesterday, as soon as we opened the chicken yard to allow all to go outside and free-range...
the chickens that had been moved immediately ran back to their old house.

Birds do not forget!
It seems that a few of these girls prefer to lay their eggs in their old house...

I had heard this about crows... that they are highly intelligent and have 
a great memory.

And now I am a believer that chickens are the same.

As for the turkeys...
they still follow us around during morning chores,
and hang out with the chickens during the rest of the day.
And at the end of the day?
Yes... we have to walk them back to their new home.
It's not that they remember their old home...
it's just that...

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A Weekend In Photos

October has been the busiest month ever!
Thankfully most of the farm chores are completed for autumn.

We've had a week of spectacular sunny weather and temperatures in the 70's.
It's been the most unusual autumn ever.

An empty chore list gives us more time for play... and this weekend we did play!

Saturday we left the farm early, as the sun was coming up...

 and headed to the city for a Breast Cancer walk... the largest in Pennsylvania.

One of the many four-legged participants...

The city fountains run pink this month...

Sunday, I went along to Mackenzie's swim lessons.

I love when children develop a love for swimming at an early age.

Then, off to Aunt Becky's dressage competition we all went.

Becky (Hubbs' sister) and her horse Sid competed and did a free-style routine
to her dad's favorite song.

(Hubbs parents and brother were visiting for the weekend...
here to see her competition.
Becky had a good cheering section.

 These two brought home a blue ribbon...

despite Sid developing "happy feet" in the middle of his routine!

Horses are one of Mackenzie's very favorite things... 

and she loved seeing all the different types.
Easton... doesn't yet know how much he's going to love horses and animals!

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It's 7:30 AM...
and I'm out doing morning chores.
I am alone, because this is Hubbs' day off from chores.
(We try to give each other one day off each week... otherwise we work together.)
It is so peaceful at this time of day.
There are a few birds chirping in the woods.
Other than the quacking of the ducks, the farm is quiet.

The horses and donkeys are enjoying the morning in the front pasture.

It's 40 degrees - but the sun is up, and things will warm up quickly.
I am picking up the night's accumulation of horse manure,
with the dogs nearby.

I often find this when picking up manure.
I have decided that this is the equine version of Ladder Ball.
They back their butts up to the fence and if they can poop onto the fence rail...
they score!

Suddenly there are loud squeals of protest coming from the pig's stall.
It sounds as if an altercation is in progress.

Even the muscovies are curious about the hullaballoo.

There's only one thing that these piggy girls fight about...
and it's food!
Apparently there is not enough hay in their stall for them to feel secure,
so I run to the barn and grab a few flakes.

Once there is adequate hay so that no one worries about starving to death,
peace is restored.


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Autumn Pasture Time

Bobby and I took a lovely Autumn walk...
down the driveway.

It's been an unusual Autumn.
There's hardly been any color to the foliage, and yet there are tons of dry leaves
already on the ground.

We head down past our pumpkin fence...

and into the pasture, where the sheep are grazing.
They warily look up to see who has entered their space.

Ginger is eagerly munching...

while MaryAnn naps in the warm sun.

I sit down to watch them and MaryAnn opens her eyes.
Naturally, she heads my way.

As soon as she reaches me, she lies down in the cool grass
for a belly rubbing.

Ginger keeps eating... more interested in food than affection.

MaryAnn, however, is my love bug!

Pretty soon Bobby is in the mix as well.

MaryAnn loves the attention... both human and feline!

Oh... those teeth!  Anyone know of a porcine dentist?

Meanwhile, behind me...
the grass is always greener!

As I sit there enjoying the pastoral scene, I am struck by the fact that 
the only sound I can hear is the breeze in the treetops.
No birds.
No insects.
We have noted of late that there are no birds at our bird feeders either...
and there haven't been for at least a month.
Quite unusual... strange, actually.
Where have the birds gone?
Do you have...

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A Malady Not Cured By Chicken Soup

My goodness,
I have experienced an outpouring of love that has amazed me.

And not just from two donkeys...
but, from you, friends.  Thank you!

For the last week I have had some blog-posting issues that have frustrated me.

I consider myself a do-it-yourself kind of gal...
and usually no job is too big to at least try to tackle.

But when it comes to technical problems... I am so very much in the dark.
Thankfully, my brother-in-law... 
(the family techie...and by the way, every family needs one...
if you don't have one, go find yourself one.
Have one of your children marry one, or marry him or her yourself!)
gave me a few suggestions to circumvent my woes.

He feels that I may have been gifted with some malware.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart... 
to that entity out on the internet that derives pleasure from such mischief!

Now, I have no idea what malware is...
but in my world "mal" means bad.
For example, none of us wants to be label malcontent,
or malicious, or maladjusted, or mal-aligned...
or just about any other adjective beginning with "mal"!

Apparently this malware somehow attaches to what I am uploading to Facebook
and makes my blog look like some sort of spam...
which in turn generates all...

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March, April.... May? Hey!

*tap tap* Hello? Anyone still out there?

Yes, it is I.... slinking back into this blawg after neglecting it for, well... all of 2014 so far. *Sigh*
No excuses, really... just can't seem to cram enough into each day lately, let alone post updates on here.
But that is all about to change! (Really?) Yes.
I have a rather large and growing collection of pictures from the last three months I'm just about to bust to share. With anyone. Just not today. *Insert evil laugh* I'll be posting them on Friday Farm Fotos over the next few weeks, spreading them out so it will be more exciting that way. Kinda like a cliffhanger. Or not.
I'm also going to start something new around here; I started writing in my journal again back a few months ago, and I'm thinking of sharing some of my short stories from it with you. Sometimes I just write nonsense~ well make that most of the time~ but some of them are memories from my childhood and other musings that I want to put on here if for no other reason than to put it out there for someone other than me to read.
Oh, and something else~ I'm trying to familiarize myself with all this social media stuff by posting a picture every morning on Twitter or Instagram or...

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The Stillness of an Autumn Afternoon

An autumn quiet has fallen upon the farm.
Afternoons are almost completely silent now...
 just the faint chirping of a few crickets are all that I hear as I make my way 
on afternoon rounds.

Hubbs was gone the past two days... visiting his parents up North...
making the farm even quieter.

In case you haven't noticed, I am a big fan of Autumn.
Next to Hubbs, he's my favorite.

(Spring and Summer are definitely "she's"... And winter is a "he"?
After all, no one has ever referred to it as Ole Woman Winter, right?
So, doesn't that mean that Winter's younger sibling is a "he" as well?)

While up north, Hubbs visited a fish hatchery and brought home
several thousand minnows.
They will serve as food for the bigger fish over the coming months.
Sad... yes, I know.

There is a process for acclimating new fish to the pond.
It involves sitting the bags of fish in the pond to help bring the water temperature down
to that of the pond.
Then pond water is slowly introduced into the bag... once... twice...
and after sitting for a spell in this mixture, they are eventually dumped into the pond.

As we emptied the fish into the pond,
there seemed to be an awful lot of them belly-up...
which worried us.
Happily, within a...

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Makin' a List, Checkin' it Twice

I am starting to compile my "naughty" and "nice" list.
December is right around the corner, you know.
Yes, dear friends, in case you haven't thought about it... Christmas is only a little over 
two months away!!
Reality check.
I was sure it was just summer.

I am happy to say that my "nice" list far outweighs the "naughty" list at this time.

The farrier came yesterday for hoof trimming and I am happy to report
that almost all of my equines were quite well behaved.

Yes, even the donkey girls decided to BOTH cooperate...
almost unheard of... them both cooperating at the same time on any given day!

Hooves grew like crazy in the past two months.

The only ones who get excited about long hooves are the dogs...
longer hooves mean bigger treats!

I can think of nothing less appetizing than gnawing on stinky horse hooves!
But then, dogs love horse manure...
so I guess their discriminating taste and mine are quite different.

As for the "naughty" list... the head of that list is Ollie, of course.
This little stinker decided he would try to nibble on the farrier,
and then when that was unsuccessful, he tried to kick him...
also unsuccessfully.
Truth be told, he only "half" tried.
(I think someone may have had a...

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We Can

There are barely any weeks that pass that do not leave me with a heavy heart...
grieving for humanity.
I am sure that you are feeling the same way.
All one need do is turn on the news and it seems that the world has turned upside down.
It's hard to not get discouraged.

And yet I refuse to give up.
I refuse to believe that we are not capable of creating a better world.

I don't often address current events on this blog...
not because I don't care... I do, deeply.

It's just that with so much despair and heartache swirling around us...
I choose to be a voice of positivity.
I choose to believe that we are capable of greatness.
I choose to believe that there is hope for humanity.
I choose to believe that we are capable of this...

of tolerating and caring and loving each other and our differences.

I choose to offer a smile and a kind word.
I choose to keep love and hope and peace my guiding force.

The world is large, and I am but one small person.
I refuse to believe that I cannot make a difference.
I can.
You can.
Everyone can... in thought, word, and deed.

In the face of all that is wrong and crazy...
let us stand together for all that is right and good.
Let us hang on to hope.
Together... we can.

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This weekend was the kind of weekend that makes us all happy!
It was cool and sunny... and even more important ... bug-less!!

The horses were happy after all these months to finally go without their fly masks.

The donkeys were thrilled...
and to think we just got Chloe to wear one about two weeks ago.

Nighttime temps dipped down into the 30's this weekend
and we awoke to frost on Sunday morning.

The heat lamp was turned on in the pig house so the girls could snuggle warmly into their
bed of hay for the night.

Cooler weather gives me the urge to nest and to cook.

I picked the last of the apples in the orchard and made apple dumplings.

I also used some of the apples to make individual servings 
of apple/walnut/cinnamon baked oatmeal... made in a muffin pan.

Feeling like autumn had finally arrived,
I got out the autumn decor.

Here is how the dining room table is supposed to look...

Here is how it actually looks...

If you have a cat, then you know that whatever it is you are doing...
they need to be helping.

"So you folds the tablecloff like zis?  I is a big help!!"
Yes, Ivy... you are most certainly a help!

Last week I showed you the skunk trap that Hubbs had ordered.
We woke up Saturday morning...

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The Piggy/Sheepie Shuffle

It's evening tuck-in time...
time to do the piggy-sheep shuffle.

Everyone is in from the pasture and ready for bed.
Of course with my presence they are all focussed on only one thing...

Ritz crackers are the magic potion needed to get these girls to do anything I need them to do.

They all follow me into the sheep pen and I hand out treats.

Then I quickly run to the pig pen and the pigs follow on my heels...
highly motivated by snacks.
The sheep are much slower and have no idea what just happened.

Once the pigs are in their own yard, I quick close the fence between the yards and place myself
on the sheep side.

The pigs get treats through the fence.

And the sheep get a few more crackers as well.

I am happy to say that these two have made the adjustment to life without Mama.
In fact, without the protection of Gracie...
these two have begun to trust me more than they used to.

Isn't it amazing the color that Faith turns in the sun.
I think she may have used a little "Sun-In" this summer...
she is blonder than she ever was before.
It's hard to believe that she's my black sheep.

But under all of that blond and brown wool is a scrumptious black fleece.

It's also hard to believe that under that dirty...

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Moving Day

The sun rose yesterday behind a thick, grey blanket of clouds...
clouds that were still heavy with rain.
We had decided that in spite of continued rain...
yesterday was to be moving day.

We've been planning to re-arrange the housing for all of our birds
for weeks now.

We have fewer chickens than we used to, so it was time to move all of the chickens
into one yard... the biggest yard that has a chicken coop on each end.

We moved the few chickens that lived in "West World".
This coop is our western-most coop that was our original turkey house... 8 years ago...
and was home to just a handful of chickens.

Consolidating all of the chickens meant that we could now move the turkeys
back into their old coop, freeing up the coop closest to the barn
to use for the guineas.

Once the chickens were moved, we housecleaned "West World" and got it ready for the turkeys.
Then we housecleaned the coop closest to the barn and got it ready for the guineas.
This coop is without nesting boxes and has plenty of room for roosting.
Guineas tend to lay their eggs "wherever".

The chickens will remain in their yard for a week or so,
until they all realize that these two houses are their forever homes.

Moving the guineas was...

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What We Do When It Rains

Yesterday was the perfect day for staying indoors.
We received much needed rain...
which slowed everything down.

Some prefer to remain indoors...

Some could care less...
chalk it up to bird brains.

Some avoid it at all cost... except, of course, if food is involved!

Some don't even seem to notice.

You asked how often the horses get groomed.
Generally once a month they get a good "going-over".

This is mostly because they are pasture pets and not working.
If they were working, they would be groomed each time they worked.

But still, on occasion, everyone gets brushed...
manes and tails get combed and hooves get picked clean.

And how do they repay the kindness of a good grooming?

Well, by rolling in the dirt, or mud, or standing in the pouring rain...
to name just a few ways.

I will say, though...
they do enjoy the attention and are all very well behaved for this activity.

You asked about Red and Ollie's personalities.
Ollie is a spitfire most of the time.
He is sweet and lovable, and yet, at the same time,
 he is independent and a bit of a naughty boy... he is often a little cranky...
the result of being an orphan, I believe.

Red, on the other hand is usually sweet.
He does, however have a bit of an...

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